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Montgomery County commissioners approve Camp Strake tax incentivThumbnail
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Montgomery County commissioners approve Camp Strake tax incentiv
Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved a reimbursement agreement with Johnson Development in November that could repay the developer $20 million in property tax costs throughout 10 years for value added to the 2,000-acre former Boy Scouts of America Camp Strake site. The deal could also provide substantial long-term property tax revenue to the county.
Johnson Development, which has also developed Woodforest and Harmony in Montgomery County, was selected as the buyer by the Sam Houston Council of the Boy Scouts of America in July for a large-scale mixed-used development. Johnson Chief Operating Officer Doug Goff said the sale of the land was finalized in November following the tax agreement’s approval.
With the sale of the land finalized, Goff said Johnson Development would spend the next six months performing comprehensive land planning and analysis with construction scheduled to begin sometime in 2015. He said the development will be a combination of retail, commercial and office uses with a variety of housing options, and it will likely include hotel and entertainment components.
Montgomery County Tax Assessor Collector J.R. Moore said the property has recently been assessed at $27.9 million, but Montgomery County has not received property tax revenue from the land for decades because Boy Scouts of America has been tax exempt by the county. Although the county will now begin to receive property tax revenue from the assessed value, the agreement provides some reimbursement for value added by the developer.
As part of the agreement, the county keeps the debt service portion of the property tax rate and 10 percent of the maintenance and operation portion, but the remainder will be refunded to Johnson Development up to $19.5 million during the next 10 years, Moore said. The agreement ends after the $19.5 million has been paid, and no money is reimbursed unless value is added to the site.
“[The agreement] takes a piece of property that has generated zero revenue over the last 25 to 30 years, because it’s been tax exempt, and turns it into a very valuable piece of property,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Craig Doyal said. “It’s a huge benefit to Montgomery County, and there won’t be a penny of taxpayer money outside of the Camp Strake land used on this reimbursement.”
Doyal, whose precinct includes the Camp Strake property, said the project could generate as much as $5.5 million in annual property tax revenue to the county upon its completion. He said the county also would not have to construct or maintain the roads or other services within the development since it falls within the city of Conroe’s service area.
Not all commissioners were in favor of the deal. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack voted against the agreement’s passing. Noack said he did not believe commissioners had enough time to review the agreement, and he does not agree with the county’s $20 million future investment weeks after it was approved.